Birmingham, Alabama-based InLine designs, builds and maintains communications networks and connected mechanical and computing devices. These systems monitor, manage and automate processes that make roadways, cities and other infrastructure more efficient, cost effective and safe.
Components and capabilities for intelligent transportation and advanced traffic management range from real-time traffic monitoring, video detection, dynamic message signs and adaptive signal controls to small-cell and WIFI networks and connected vehicle networks.
Two estimators at InLine generate 15 bids per week on average ranging in value from $10,000 to $10 million. Crews complete projects primarily across Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi for government agencies, telecommunications carriers, utility providers and building owners.
B2W advantages address unique requirements
“In our technology-focused business, the devil is really in the details,” explains Kevin McCoy, a founder of InLine and vice president of operations. “We have more than 7,000 material items in our cost database and we update this constantly, because the technology we install is changing and advancing so rapidly.”
“Having all those items organized in a centralized estimating database and being able to move bid data directly to a performance tracking system have been huge advantages,” he adds. “With B2W, we can literally estimate and track costs right down to the individual nuts and bolts we use on a project.”
Estimating with confidence, accuracy and speed
Replacing spreadsheets with B2W Estimate made InLine far more confident and far more competitive, according to McCoy.
“Our bids are almost always within a few percentage points of where we need to be,” he explains. “In the past, we frequently won or lost with bids that were far out of line with our actual costs or with what our competitors were bidding.”
McCoy says estimators also work much faster, pulling cost items and cost structures automatically from their B2W estimating database or from similar bids instead of starting from scratch. This allows the company to devote more time to studying project plans and strategizing on how to bid and complete the work.
Daily field Tracking provides vital data immediately
Once a bid is won, InLine exports the information electronically from B2W Estimate to the B2W Track field tracking application without redundant data entry. The unified approach ensures continuity between how jobs are bid and how the work is performed in the field.
Supervisors record actual labor hours, productivity, materials and equipment utilization using B2W Track electronic field logs, which they submit daily.
“From our headquarters, I can now monitor all of our jobs daily across multiple states through the B2W field logs and reporting,” explains McCoy.
“I look for anomalies,” he adds. “With Track, we see them right away and can address problems much faster than when we were waiting for paper logs from the field or monthly reports from accounting.”
Smooth adoption and strong support from B2W
McCoy says his company’s technology focus, combined with strong training and support from B2W, led to a smooth transition from paper and spreadsheets to specialized software.
“We’re a company that likes to figure things out on its own, so we used B2W Estimate for a few months before formal training,” McCoy recalls. “This worked great. The trainers were excellent, and we got more out of it because we had some experience and knew what questions to ask.”
The start-up with B2W Track was also smooth. With training from B2W, several InLine foremen quickly became proficient. They then helped to train additional users at other locations throughout the company.
“B2W support is absolutely the greatest I’ve ever seen from a software company,” McCoy adds. “The tech staff knows its stuff. Whenever we call, we never have to escalate through multiple levels to get something resolved.” Tags: B2W, Software